Gardening offers opportunities for light physical activity and health benefits, including time spent outdoors enjoying fresh air, getting vitamin D and keeping a productive mindset. Not to mention, you can grow your own fruits and vegetables for a more nutritious diet, along with beautiful flowers that can brighten your home. As we continue to spend so much time at home to keep our loved ones healthy, why not test out your green thumb?
Gardening has proven over time to have incredible emotional and physical benefits, including:
- Exposure to vitamin D, which increases calcium levels, benefiting your bones, immune system and mental health
- Decreased risk of dementia
- Mood-boosting benefits
- Aerobic exercise that works new muscles in your body to improve strength, stamina and flexibility
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved health and well-being
- Encouraged feelings of joy
Gardening at Watermark Communities Nationwide
Watermark communities nationwide are incorporating gardening into their daily enrichment programming. Parkview in Frisco planted a new organic garden just before stay-at-home measures went into place in Frisco, Texas. Little did the community know how valuable this addition would become in the upcoming months, as it has provided a sense of purpose, as well as a portrait of life and growth despite current uncertain circumstances.
“We have one bed for vegetables, one for flowers and one for herbs. The residents gave me a list of what they wanted to plant, I purchased and they planted … They love taking care of it. The feedback has been so terrific as it has given them something to look forward to, as well as the joy of signs of new life,” explained Community Life Director Dorianne Cammarota.
At Crown Cove in Corona del Mar, California, gardening is a wonderful way for residents to stay active and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Recently, they planted new, beautiful flowers and added a vegetable garden. Molly, a current resident, shared, “Gardening gives me a thrill; it just makes me feel good knowing I can do something in this world to make it beautiful!”
In addition to gardening’s positive impact on mind, body and spirit wellness, it also helps to encourage individuals to go outside and explore something new. You don’t have to be an expert, and it doesn’t matter how much space you have available. Begin your at-home garden by following these simple steps:
- Prepare your space: Decide where you want to start your garden. Is your space big or small? Is there mostly shade or sun? What size pots do you want to use? You can grow herbs and greens in small cans, but you will need to find larger containers for bigger plants.
- Choose what to grow: The sun exposure of your gardening space will play a huge role in deciding what seeds to plant. For example, if your space is sunny, you will want to plant tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash and corn. If you are planting in the shade, then choose from leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, Brussels sprouts, radishes, leafy greens and beans.
- Create a watering schedule: It’s important to think about how you plan to water your garden before you plant it. Your plants will need water at least twice a week, depending on how much rain you get and what seeds you’ve planted. Always research the plants you plan to grow so you know how to properly water them. For best results, water your garden either early in the morning or later in the evening but never in the afternoon.
- Plant your garden: If you are planting anything other than seeds, make sure you give your plants a drink of water before you stick them in the garden. This helps the transfer go smoothly.
The great news is, if you don’t have space for an outdoor garden, planting indoors is just as effective. Plants that grow well indoors include aloe vera, lettuce greens, carrots, tomatoes and ginger. Another common indoor option is to plant a variety of fresh herbs, including rosemary, oregano, thyme, chives and mint, that you can cook with year-round.
Check out how some Watermark residents from Parkview in Frisco and Crown Cove are thriving in their community gardens. Contact a Watermark community near you to learn more about our active, carefree and enriched lifestyle.
Parkview in Frisco’s Community Garden
Crown Cove’s Community Garden